In addition to the devastation and displacement left behind by Hurricane Harvey, many Texas residents and employees are also facing new concerns about the risk of mesothelioma.
As typically happens when structures are damaged by disaster, the storm damaged asbestos-contaminated building materials that have been in place for decades, exposing the public to the danger of breathing in the carcinogenic fibers.
A notable example of these concerns is the historic Bastrop County jail in Bastrop, Texas. The building was built in the 1890s and was hard-hit by the storm. An inspection conducted in late January revealed asbestos dust coating the surfaces of office equipment, and this discovery led to the building’s employees being displaced and asbestos specialists being called in for further testing.
Nobody knows how much exposure to asbestos is needed for a person to be at risk for malignant mesothelioma or any of the other asbestos-related diseases that can come from breathing in or ingesting the hazardous material.
In the case of the historic jail building, the storm loosened and displaced some plaster that contained asbestos, and that led to the health and safety concern. Though it is not clear whether there has been risk in the past from the asbestos, most asbestos experts say that the material only becomes a danger once it becomes friable, or damaged enough for particles to float free in the air.
Testing of air samples from the offices used by county employees proved to be negative, though asbestos was found on the surface of a deputies’ office printer, a coffee machine and a wall hanging.
The county is aware of the mesothelioma concerns, and has moved all employees to other locations. Licensed and trained asbestos specialists are removing items that could potentially be contaminated and a plan is being put in place for removing all wall plaster and flooring that contains asbestos.
Awareness of the hazards of asbestos is key to protecting people from the risk of malignant mesothelioma. If you were exposed to the deadly material and have been diagnosed with this or any other asbestos-related disease, we are here to provide you with the information you need. Call the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today to learn more. Our number is 1-800-692-8608.